Iohannis: NATO forces ‘quite likely’ to come closer to the Eastern Flank

President Klaus Iohannis said on Saturday that given that Russia is an aggressor, NATO must do whatever it takes to protect its member states and provide a defence for them, announcing that it is “quite likely” that NATO forces will come closer to the Eastern Flank.

“There are two things. At this point, we have no indications that a different scenario is necessary than the one we are living in, unfortunately, now. So, we don’t think the conflict is going to expand. On the other hand, it is very clear that here we have an aggressor, which is Russia, and we must do whatever it takes to protect ourselves and provide a defence for our states. And in this respect, yes, it is desirable and it is quite likely that forces from NATO will come closer to the Eastern Flank,” President Iohannis said in Siret, northern Romania, on Saturday, where he was visiting the refugees camps.

Iohannis is expected today to go to the Mihail Kogalniceanu military Base near Constanta, southeastern country, “where an important contingent from France, from Belgium arrived.”

“There are also soldiers from the United States, we know, from Italy and from Germany. But there are plans for additional forces to come. Once again, we are preparing to defend ourselves, we do not intend to go somewhere else,” Iohannis pointed out.

The Romanian President said that he did not believe the conflict in Ukraine would escalate, with “no indication that another scenario is needed” at this time.

Asked what message he was sending to Romanians who panicked because of the war, the head of state replied that “we do not calculate a scenario in which Romania is involved in conflict or threatened”.”I can say a simple thing here in Romania we are at home and we stay here,” he added.

He underlined that NATO cannot engage militarily in a conflict in a state that is not a member of the Alliance.

“It is very sad that we have a war in Europe, but for many well-known reasons, NATO cannot get involved militarily in a conflict in a state that is not a member of NATO. And we, however, feel responsible and do everything we can, which is seen here – we intervene with humanitarian aid, we help refugees, both in the short term and in the medium term, and we will continue to do so for those who remain in Ukraine. That is why we are setting up a European logistics center for humanitarian support,” Iohannis said.

President Klaus Iohannis said on Saturday that Romania is ready for Ukrainian refugees on medium and long terms, to take them from the border, while stressing that we cannot intervene on Ukrainian territory to provide help.

“Our role is to help those who take refuge, we will also help those who remain in Ukraine. And with Moldova, we are in a very close relationship and we are determined that, in the situation where humanitarian aid is needed, we will intervene there as well. We do not have data now to show a scenario that Moldova would be threatened. (…) You realize that, administratively, we can’t intervene in Ukraine, we take over the people who come to us and take care of them. But keep in mind that there was communication and there were situations where people who needed urgent intervention were helped to get around faster. But the formalities of leaving Ukraine are formalities that the authorities in Ukraine are dealing with.”

Romania’s President further said that the authorities will prepare schools and kindergartens for refugees.

“We have short-term plans, such as this center (the logistics one for humanitarian aid, ed. n.), but we also have medium and long-term plans. We are preparing, for example, with schools and kindergartens and we already have in our kindergartens children brought from Ukraine by their parents, who are very well cared for. For this I want to thank the community here, the mayor of Siret for the organization, as well as the County Council, which was, in turn, very involved. We prepare schools for children, we prepare accommodation for refugees, which we will even help and find jobs in Romania in case they have to stay here for longer. We are therefore ready and will continue to be prepared on all levels and for as long as necessary,” Iohannis added.

He emphasized that “no Ukrainian, man or woman, will be refused entry into Romania”. According to him, the Romanian authorities will take all steps to relieve the suffering of refugees and those who remain in Ukraine in complicated situations.

“This situation, the way we’ve assessed it, will continue quite a lot, and the complications will get worse. We believe that this humanitarian catastrophe will spread. A lot of aid will be needed here, too, but also in Ukraine. In order to support those who remain in Ukraine, we have decided to arrange here, in Suceava County, near the airport, a logistic center for humanitarian aid, a European logistics center. This logistics center, or hub as it is called today, will operate under the umbrella of the European Civil Protection rescEU, will collect humanitarian aid from all over Europe, from all interested international organizations and will take this aid to Ukraine and if necessary it will take it to the Republic of Moldova.”

campeastern flankforcesinterventionnatopresident klaus iohannisrefugeesRussiasiretukraine
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